The second year of uni has been a tough one, I didn’t really know what to expect though. After a turbulent first year I moved into a house with friends, and whilst the living situation has been much better, the actual academic side has been quite hectic. However, by the grace of God I managed to pass! Anyone who knows me knows I would have been listening to a lot of music throughout it and here are the 12 most important songs to me from second year. First off however, honourable mentions!
6ix9ine – Gummo
Northaze – Gipton Wood Road
Kendrick Lamar – FEAR.
Solange ft. Lil Wayne – Mad
$ilkmoney – My Forte
James Marshall – Just You
Kodak Black ft. XXXTentacion – Roll In Peace
ChopEm – Wid Da M
ChopEm – MuhhDussa
Aystar – I Got This
Chris Isaak – Lie To Me
Mac Miller ft. Earl Sweatshirt & Da$H – New Faces V2
Burial – Archangel
I’d make an argument that there is no better late night autumn song than this. My brother would play this a lot when I was younger and this year at uni it made a return to my life, the Metal Gear Solid sample to a haunting drum loop it just all works so well. A really introspective and personal track made all the better by the backdrop of the train from Nottingham to Leeds or Leeds to Nottingham on a cold evening made me realise this was the perfect accompaniment for the season. I never expected to like and relate to it so much, but the way it compliments that time of the year so well I couldn’t help it, honestly next time you’re on a train at night listen to this – incredible music.
Headie One & RV – Know Better
The amount of times I played this track is a bit ridiculous, made only more ridiculous by the fact I’d do it just to hear “Excellent finish, Mo Salah” whenever he scored. It’s one of those tracks that will always be associated with a certain year and makes a reference that football fans will easily be able to identify in years to come. Mo Salah played a brilliant season at Liverpool last year and gave us all hope going into the Champions League final, alas it wasn’t to be but to have Headie One spit about you must be some sort of trophy in itself.
The Platters – My Prayer
People that know me know that I love good TV. And that’s why this year at uni I decided to start watching Twin Peaks. The show had me hooked straight away and I finished all 3 seasons and the movie within about 3 months, but this song from The Return had caught my attention. It plays in Episode 8 – yes that episode – and also in the final episode. There was something about it so beautiful yet so sad, how powerful the vocals are just encapsulates what I love about this song, and it reminds me of what is probably the greatest TV show ever.
Frank Sinatra – It Was A Very Good Year
Now as well as starting and finishing Twin Peaks in second year, I also started The Sopranos. One of the most well worked, well rounded shows I’ve ever seen and this song from the opening montage to Season 2 has stuck with me – I remember watching it at around 3am and as soon as the episode finished I went straight to playing this. I’m sure my housemates were annoyed with how much I was singing this, especially in the shower where the acoustics were perfect for it might I add. It captures the show so well, and the ‘17’ verse also relates to my life ridiculously well… “When I was 17 it was a very good year, it was a very good year for small town girls and soft summer nights”. Damn, deeply personal and probably one of the greatest Sinatra songs ever.
Lil Baby – Freestyle
I remember hearing for the first time, I was in bed at about 8am and I was looking at Da$H’s Instagram story and heard this in the background – I knew I had to find out what it was. Sure enough after about two minutes of googling later I was blasting this whilst in the shower. Since then it has been in rotation on every playlist I’ve made and helped me appreciate Lil Baby a lot, but this track has so many bars and his flow is crazy. Lil Baby is too real with it and for anybody that says he isn’t point them to this track.
6ix9ine – Gotti
This is my summer banger. When this dropped I was a bit sceptical because of it was so different to everything else but it grew on me and I couldn’t stop playing it and still can’t. To say how late in the year it came out I must have played it more than most other tracks, and that was mainly on late night fortnite times – something else that helped me through second year. It’s a feel good track and shouldn’t be understated on how good it is.
Chris Isaak – Blue Hotel
Chris Isaak is the man, his soft voice accompanied by that guitar on this is too much to handle. At times I just couldn’t listen to hip hop I turned to a lot of Chris Isaak and this was the main one, for such a talented individual he doesn’t get the recognition he deserves. This one is another track perfect for them bathroom acoustics and is sure to be stuck in your head if you give it a listen.
Playboi Carti, Da$H and Maxo Kream – Fetti
“I can’t go in I ain’t ready” might have been my most uttered phrase at uni this year and it’s all thanks to this, another song to help me get through those long fortnite nights I just fully rate how each rapper takes apart the track. But alongside this, I won’t shy away from the fact I was making quite decent money and living well in second year so I just wanted a track that helped me talk my money shit and feel like a baller and this was the perfect track for it.
Sonder – Too Fast
Featured on the Atlanta season 2 trailer, the vocals on this are filled with so many emotions that I don’t know whether to cry or smile when I hear this. Brent Faiyaz’s voice is incredible and hits so many notes so perfectly that it’s really an emotional rollercoaster and the production is just as good. This is one of those songs for them cold, bitter winter mornings and I won’t hear anything else.
Giggs – The Essence
The last assignment I had to do was about 3000 words, and with about 10 hours to go I had done 1000, around the same time as that Colors Berlin had recently dropped their Giggs video of him rapping The Essence. It’s off his stupendously impressive Wamp 2 Dem and serves as a follow up to cult classic Pain is the Essence, it was something I’d overlooked and I don’t know how. The beat serves as a perfect background for Giggs to wear his heart on his sleeve and provide raps incandescent with strife and agony, it was something I connected with on quite a personal level …
“I’m mentally fucked
I’m mentally scarred, I’m meant to be up
I’m meant to be high, I’m meant to be chuffed
Fam, I fought for my life, I’m mentally stuck”
… these are the lyrics that resonated with me and although he’s probably talking about something completely different to what I went through it was the fact mental health and what not were being talked about by a true representative of a lifestyle led by so many people across the nation.
The Beatles – Eleanor Rigby
I don’t even know how I came across this track again, or what made me think of it but when I heard the sharpness of the violins on it I knew I would be coming back to it time and time again. Now, when you work in a bar and you come back at night whilst everyone’s out or everyone’s asleep then this track hits you hard! Add to this the fact the boiler would break or we just wouldn’t put money on the gas card for some reason and I felt like I was the one being sang about, definitely worth your time to listen to.
Ghostface Killah – Mighty Healthy
One of the best delivered tracks I’ve ever heard, Ghost really killed this track. My infatuation with Wu-Tang started when my infatuation with Hip-Hop started so I’ve got nothing but love for what these guys do, double up with the aforementioned fact I was making a decent amount of money and you’ll see why I love this track so much. Also, back in April when his Leeds show was announced I couldn’t stop playing it and was over the moon when I finally got two tickets for it. It was there, where my love for all things Wu-Tang culminated when Ghostface got me up on stage to rap Method Man’s verse on Protect Ya Neck. Highlight of my life so far and was a perfect way to end my 2nd year of uni.
words by Rohan Parmar